Ricky Warwick – When Life Was Hard And Fast

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: https://www.nuclearblast.de/en
Released: February 2021
Buy Album: https://www.nuclearblast.de/en/products/tontraeger/cd/ricky-warwick-when-life-was-hard-fast.html
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/rickywarwickofficial

Band line-up:

Andreas Jenå – Guitar
Gustav Wremer – Guitar/vocals
Johan Häll – Drums
Samuel Georgsson – Bass

Tracklisting:

1.) When Life Was Hard And Fast
2.) You Don’t Love Me
3.) I’d Rather Be Hit
4.) Gunslinger
5.) Never Corner A Rat
6.) Time Don’t Seem To Matter
7.) Fighting Heart
8.) I Don’t Feel At Home
9.) Still Alive
10.) Clown Of Misery
11.) You’re My Rock And Roll

Review:

Irish born singer/songwriter Ricky Warwick was raised on an eclectic mix of music, from Johnny Cash to Thin Lizzy, and when, at 13, he bought his first electric guitar, life as he knew it would change forever. After moving around in his younger years, and working on his father’s farm, and at the tender age of 14, he got the call to join New Model Army on their 1987 ‘Ghost of Cain’ World Tour, and would continue to work with many iconic bands, including The Ramones, Motörhead and Iron Maiden.

Fast forward 30 years, and tons of touring and recording experience under his belt, Ricky Warwick has recorded ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’ – An honest expression of Ricky’s passion for good, honest, rock ‘n’ roll.

Straight from the get-go, and with title track ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’, a feel for the good, honest rock ‘n’ roll that Ricky mentions is apparent, and it comes through in a strong and nostalgic hit that wouldn’t feel out of place if it were released in the ’80s by the likes of Tom Petty. Featuring Joe Elliot of Def Leppard on backing vocals, the song paints a picture of times gone by, of growing up and chasing your dreams and the losses along the way.  It’s filled with attitude but aimed in the right direction.

With albums that promote a “feeling of times gone by”, it’s easy for stories to seem false or overdone, or done to death. ‘You Don’t Love Me,’ isn’t necessarily a song that’s never been done before, but it’s done cleverly and with a real sense of professionalism.

Themes of love and even politics run throughout the record but interweaved with that classic rock ‘n’ roll sound, not once breaking the style of the album. The political theme is apparent in more than one song, including Ricky’s personal views on his government alongside tales of those that have served, and their feelings on how they had been let down by those in power. It’s a powerful message, a powerful tale, especially to include in an album that sounds so classic in its delivery, but once again, cleverly disguised within fantastic music and clean production.

‘Gunslinger’, written by Willy Deville, is a cover thrown into the centre of this record, a B side on Willy’s 1977 hit ‘Spanish Stroll’. A fond favourite and personal goal to cover, Ricky Warwick adds a piece of rock n’ roll history into his mix of honest rock. Even though it’s written by somebody else, it feels at home.

Track 06. ‘Time Don’t Seem To Matter’ slows everything down for a moment in time, pulls out an acoustic guitar, and tells you to sit and listen. A personal and very touching song, written for Ricky’s daughter, Pepper. It’s soft, private and tender. What’s wonderful about this track, more so than anything else, is that Pepper sings alongside her father, bringing home the song’s message. Originally a demo version of the intended track, Ricky and Pepper thought that they wouldn’t be able to capture what they had done on the demo recording, it was pure and raw. They decided to simply release the demo as the finished track, and I think the honesty and love in the result is a testament to his feelings.

Throughout this record, Ricky Warwick calls on his many friends from many well-known acts, such as Dizzy Reed of Guns n Roses, who plays keyboards on three tracks throughout.

From nostalgic to wholesome, to good old-fashioned, gritty rock ‘n’ roll, Ricky weaves us throughout his homage to rock, tackling issues of love, politics, and drug addiction along the way. The whole album is incredibly well put together, spaced well, and thought out in the layout structure of its tracks. If this record came out in the ’80s, it would not sound out of place one bit, and would no doubt be a hit then as well.

Ricky says he wanted to “…create an album that had the simplistic melodies of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers charged with the electric hedonistic fury of Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers,” and I think he has done just that. This whole album screams classic, honest rock, and I fully believe he achieved exactly that. Not one part of this album felt out of place, out of context, or out of tune. A truly delightful piece of writing that I would love to explore again.

Ricky ends the album on one final, explosive number, and it wraps everything up, chews on it, then spits it on the ground in a gritty, life-affirming number called ‘You’re My Rock and Roll’. Ricky called it a ‘bombastic ode to the power, majestic and life-affirming addiction that is rock ‘n’ roll,’ and he certainly isn’t wrong! It’s the electrified, super-charged track that this record needed to end on and it sends us out with a blast that’s been turned all the way up to 11. Images of people drinking and having a good time in a bar come to mind, linked in arms, enjoying good music, and if that isn’t the feel for the whole album, I don’t know what is. Wonderful!

 

‘Ricky Warwick – When Life Was Hard And Fast’ is out NOW  via Nuclear Blast.

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